Originally released in Japan in 1999, with releases in the rest of the world a year later, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver are the first entries in the second generation of Pokemon games. Set in the Johto region, the games introduce a new story, new characters, and one-hundred brand new Pokemon to collect.
Much like the previous games, Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver are played in a top down third-person perspective, with players navigating around the land of Johto. The player is given their first Pokemon by Professor Elm, a choice between Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile, before being sent on an adventure to find every Pokemon in the world and become the Pokemon champion.
Just as with previous Pokemon games you can search for new Pokemon in the long grass, caves, and water, though Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver introduces a new ‘headbutt’ mechanic, where you can headbutt certain trees to knock Pokemon out into the open.
The game introduces other new elements, including a day and night cycle, with certain Pokemon only coming out at certain times of the day, as well as genders for the Pokemon, introducing the ability to breed Pokemon for the first time. These new features change the game in huge ways, though they don’t feel jarring to the gameplay experience, or forced into the game, but rather feel like a natural progression to the series.
Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver also introduce audiences to the first group of new Pokemon, with a hundred new monsters added to the franchise. Some of these Pokemon are added evolutions to existing creatures, including pre-evolution ‘baby’ Pokemon, whilst others are brand new species.
Many of the new Pokemon introduced for Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver are still some of the best that the series has given us, and played an important part of shaping the series for the future by introducing three new ‘types’ to the game.
The game also expands upon the standard story of a Pokemon game in exciting ways. Yes, you still explore your region, fight an evil organisation, challenge the gyms and eventually become the champion, but this time once you have become the champion in Johto you are able to travel back to the Kanto region from the first set of games to fight your way through their gym leaders.
Despite being almost 20 year old, this hasn’t been repeated since, and Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver remain the only games that contain more than one region, something that fans have wanted in every generation since.
Yes, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver are fairly simple compared to some of the later games; there’s no battle tree, secret bases, or Pokemon contests to take part in. However, having expanded upon the original generation and fixing many of the issues that plagued those games, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver are still some of the best Pokemon games because of how simple they are.
The re-released games haven’t been touched or altered in any way, the graphics are the same as when they were first released, and the bugs that players found in the original will still be here, but this doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the game at all.
The one addition to the game is the ability to transfer Pokemon from Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver to the Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Bank, enabling players to transfer their Pokemon into later games. Once a Pokemon has been removed from the game into Bank, however, it cannot be returned, so make sure that you really want to transfer it before you do so.
Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver are available from today on the Nintendo e-Shop for the Nintendo 3DS. They are also available at some retailers as a physical package version, which comes with a download code inside a case designed to look like the original release.